Tintin hopes to become a hero to Southampton fans

England striker Rickie Lambert quickly followed the Argentine out of the door to join boyhood club Liverpool while media speculation surrounding the futures of England World Cup duo Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw continues to bubble away.


Southampton say they do not need to sell their best players but if their hands become tied, then the appointment of Koeman will go some way to steadying the ship at St Mary’s.

The 51-year-old, who goes by the nickname of Tintin because of his likeness to the fictional character, has plenty of managerial experience and won the domestic double in his first season at Ajax Amsterdam in 2001-02.

He has also spent time in charge of Feyenoord, Benfica, PSV Eindhoven and Valencia.

However, it is former Netherlands defender Koeman’s attacking style of play coupled with his ability to nurture young players that is likely to strike a chord at Southampton.

The Saints are always willing to give the less experienced players a chance, with the likes of Real Madrid’s world-record signing Gareth Bale and Arsenal pair Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having come through their ranks.

“In appointing Ronald we have concluded our search for a manager who shares our values and vision for the future of Southampton,” executive director Les Reed said on their website.

“From the moment we met Ronald it was clear he had the vision and ambition to take our club forward, that he shared our football philosophy and could see the opportunity to move our club to the next level.”


Blond maestro Koeman once played an instrumental role in the development of enigmatic Sweden and Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“He is terrific,” Ibrahimovic said after the Dutchman was appointed at Ajax in 2001. “Talk about respect, he has only been here for two days and you can see he gets on really well with the lads.”

Koeman also took a youthful Rafael van der Vaart under his wing in the Dutch capital, installing him as captain. But their relationship turned sour when the midfielder refused to play on the left wing against Bayern Munich.

Over the last three seasons at Feyenoord, Koeman twice helped his talented youngsters to qualify for the Champions League before leaving last month.

Jordy Clasie, Bruno Martins Indi, Stefan de Vrij, Terece Kongolo, Tonny Vilhena and Jean Paul Boetius all received call-ups by Netherlands and Koeman is hoping to make a similar impact at his new club.

“From my very first meeting with Les Reed I could see clearly this was the right club for me,” he said. “We share the same philosophy of football and the same belief in how to develop the club.

“The opportunity to continue the development of this famous football club was simply too good to turn down.”

Koeman’s appointment has certainly won the approval of Southampton great Matthew Le Tissier.

“Seems like an excellent one to me,” the former England striker said on his Twitter account. “Big name to attract players.”

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)